A surge in Manchester United's commercial revenues helped cushion the blow of a drop in matchday and media income due to the club's failure to progress in the Champions League and FA Cup last season.
United's quarterly results show that revenues dropped in the three months ending March 31 by £4.4million from 2011, £70.8m compared to £75.2m, but that drop would have been greater had there not been increased sponsorship income of £3.5m.
The commercial deals have helped keep United on track for a significant revenue increase over the course of the whole season - over the nine-month period total revenues were £245.8m compared to £231.6m for the same period a year previously.
Wages have also risen by 9.9% compared to 2011.
"This increase largely relates to growth in player remuneration, driven by new player acquisitions and further contractual negotiations together with increased costs and headcount arising from the continued growth in our sponsorship and commercial operations," says United's quarterly financial report.
The report confirms that the exit from the Champions League in the group stage and from the FA Cup in the fourth round had affected media and matchday revenues for the three-month period.
It states: "Media income has been impacted by our exit from the UCL, thus no Round of 16 match played and our subsequent participation in the UEL [Europa League], for which, despite one extra game, the income per game is lower than for the UCL. In addition, we earned lower revenues for the FA Cup in 2011/12 due to our fourth-round exit, compared with reaching the semi-final in 2010/11."
Over the three-month period, media revenue dropped £3.8m to £16.9m, matchday revenue by £4.1m to £26.6m and commercial revenue rose by £3.5m to £27.3m.
The increase in commercial revenue is due to part to higher income from United's profit share sponsorship agreement with Nike, their new training kit deal with DHL, and other sponsorship deals.